Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Summer... no cruising just working on the "lists" and finally, new countertops!

October Sunset at our home dock

It seems that the rains, heat and humidity started almost on the day we arrived back home after our Chesapeake Bay cruise in early July. We had a fabulous trip up and back on the ICW seeing many places that may look very different today after Hurricane Florence made a big impact on the eastern coast. Fortunately, we are just south of Charleston, SC and escaped all of her fury from wind and water. We did not escape the several days of work involved in securing home and boats. This time, we removed the bimini and Isinglass and did a lot more storm prep including tying the boat and floating dock to the main pier head and 2 trees on shore. Last year, we witnessed several floating docks that had come off the pilings just go floating away. We did a lot of prep work, waited, waited and we were spared. Then we had a bit of Hurricane Michael which also spared us of the worst getting only tropical force winds and some rain for the 2 days. 

Remnants of Florence
A painting from my Toogoodoo 365 Series (yes, a little shameless promotion) of the tail end of the hurricane winds wisping by us, thankfully without harm to the southern part of SC.

It could've been a lot worse and we are sorry for those affected. We know from personal experience how devastating this can be. Last year, our son Bryan lost his sailboat and home to Hurricane Irma at Dinner Key Marina, FL.
Windfree, Tayana 37 sailboat

This was the summer for the "the list". The never ending list of "to dos" and "repairs" or "updates" for Summer Breeze, also the normal house and yard duties.  I know, we never do catch up, do we? Thankfully, we only had 2 minor repairs after the trip. The fresh water pump that went out on the last 2 days of our 6 week trip and the stripped fuel screw thing. 
(I'm going to let Bruce write about that because that's all I remember about it.)  I waited until we go to our home dock and replaced the water pump with a new spare and replaced the in-line suction strainer whose housing had cracked and was letting air in.  As for the "stripped fuel screw thing", I retapped, with the help of a mechanic, the level screw on the port fuel injector pump which had stripped out and began leaking halfway to Chesapeake Bay. Thanks to Rescue Tape, we were able to complete our trip without a problem!

A summer to take care of the project list.
The fall breezes are now here and it has been a blessing to work outside on Summer Breeze. One job we did during the summer, was remove the wallpaper by the main entry door. That was not fun but after lots of brainstorming, we came up with an idea to use vinyl flooring boards on the walls, which are water proof (probably more resistant) and easy to put up. We found one in a wood color that was very close to the teak walls and since there is a curtain hanging where the teak meets the vinyl, it really isn't an eye catcher.

Bruce tearing off paper
Repairing and patching
First strip of vinyl flooring glued on
It is noticeable where it meets the teak wall but not noticeable because of the curtain
Welcome Aboard with an Ikea rack and hooks for hats and jackets
While on the trip, even though it was not in the heat of summer and with outer sun screens on the windows, we experienced how much heat does come in. I found some sun shields that are used for car and RV windows that you stick on the inside to block the penetrating heat and it adds to our night time privacy if at a dock. It is amazing how much cooler it is inside now. We plan to only use these while at our dock and it has kept the inside cooler with the help of a small portable AC unit.

These window shields are made for car windows and really do block out the heat as well.

Galley countertops!
The next project, which was to be one of the first to be done, is the galley countertops. After much research, talking to several companies here, so on and so on.... we did it ourselves. We've gone full circle between laminate (mostly known as Formica which is a brand name) to granite to corian to quartz, and now back to laminate and also from dark to light to dark and finally with a light color. I'll spare y'all the details of all our very frustrating discussions with contractors. We chose a laminate from Wilson Art in a light marbled color. And we would like to add that Jeff Sessions, Kitchen and Bath Design Consultant from the West Ashley Home Depot, was invaluable with his advice and support on doing this project.

But first.... the demolition 
This is the day we put the hammer and chisel on the tile. There is no turning back now!
We had always planned on doing the demo work ourselves and it was a bit tougher than we thought. There must've been a ton of glue under those little blue tiles and in the grout.

We had to chip away at the glue and tile backing left on the tiles.

All done, wood filler applied, sanded and prepped. It was pretty bad under those tiles.

The first template is made! This is the island over the refrigerators. We started with this one as it is the easiest. We are making templates out of poster board.

Taking the saw to the 1st piece! 

Prepping the surfaces with glue

Working in the galley area

Installing new sink and faucet


(The white pipe coming out of the window is our vent for the portable AC/dehumidier which sits on the stove when the boat is not in use. Not pretty but a pain to remove just for the pic.)

Before photos

Salt water wash down.
And then, simultaneously with the galley project, Bruce was working on creating a salt water wash down option for the bow hose connection. Along the ICW, we cringe at the amount of our fresh water it takes to wash down the caked on pluff mud on the anchor chain. We worry that we will use all our fresh water on the chain and not have enough for us to shower. So that was accomplished and we have both fresh water and salt water options. No pics of that as it is just valves and stuff. 

The next project is to put a fresh coat of appliance paint on the refrigerator doors. The fridges are fine, just a bit pitted from exposure to salt air and with a $3-4 can of appliance paint, they look good as new. 

Now that the fall weather has come, it is time to enjoy Summer Breeze again and plan our winter/spring cruise trip south.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Georgetown to Charleston and HOME!, Days 43 and 44

July 2: Georgetown to Charleston
The reward for waking up early...
 These photos seem a little yellower than what it actually was. There was a lot of light red in those clouds but I think these photos are still beautiful!
We were close to Georgetown but this time we didn't go into the harbor. We anchored in a beautiful spot just in sight of the bridge and harbor. Easy access to go either offshore or ICW route. 

We passed by the Georgetown light on the way offshore. It's a bit longer trip to go offshore on this route because we have to go out quite a bit in both the Georgetown and Charleston channels to get away from any shoals but it should be a good day to do so and it gets us away from the small boat traffic and shallows behind Isle of Palm.

It was a very still morning. Not much wind and calm waters. Yeah! Great day to go offshore even though Bella had her "special" peanut butter treat and I had my Relief Band ready.
 Calm and beautiful offshore, though a little rolly with the long, smooth 1/2 - 1 ' foot waves...which as it turns out is what gets me! 🤢🤢🤢🤢
Bella seemed ok with her drug though she was not totally herself but she did not get sick. It was smooth but the long, slow, smooth up and down waves were not good for me! My Relief Band was eventually up to max and my tummy was at my throat. Next time, I use my patch, though I was ok on our other times. Maybe it was just "me" today.
Boy, was I glad to start seeing these sights! 
Charleston harbor scenes are always so beautiful.

The harbor area was so crowded today, we thought about anchoring by the city marina but we hear so much about how fouled the waters are by sunken vessels and stuff. Nothing we want to get into. So we took the extra bit of time to get into the Stono River and anchor at the same spot we had our 1st night on this trip. Not far from St Johns Yacht Harbor.
Back to our water pump issue... Bruce has not had a chance to replace it as it is behind one of the engines which is way too hot to deal with. He troubleshot a couple of things and he's pretty sure the pump is bad. The boat is lip-lapping full of fresh water from Southport, we just can't get it out of the faucets! We also have lots of fresh drinking water on board so we are using that to wash dishes with and wash ourselves. Of course, we could've gone to a marina tonight for a real shower, but we didn't! 
We will go on home tomorrow instead of hanging around Botany Bay Beach over the 4th. It's supposed to rain anyway!

Miles today: 90
Total: 1375

July 3, Day 44. Home!

Weighed anchor at 8 AM and we were able to enter the Toogoodoo on a rising tide and be home around at 11:30. It was a smooth ride down the Stono and Toogoodoo and docking! 
😎😎😎 Of course, the conditions were perfect for us. 

 I see our empty dock waiting for us and a new boat on the creek!
 Within an hour of docking, a rain squall comes by with some lightning and wind. But it was still HOT. We have decided that long trips in June and July are just too hot, even up north! The Chesapeake was in the mid 90s when we were there. Somehow I think it's not always like that though. Next time, we want blue water, but we are glad that we made the trip. It taught us a lot about Summer Breeze and we are now more prepared and ready for that trip. When? Not yet!

Our travels home. The only difference in going north was that we did the whole way in the ICW going north and south we went offshore between Georgetown and Charleston. Also, we took the Virginia Cut Route north and the Dismal Swamp Route south between Norfolk and Pamlico River. A total of 1399 miles and 44 days.

These paintings need a little tweaking here and there but I have a ton of reference photos to work from for my Summer Breezes Series.
For now, it's time to clean up the boat, the house, the yard, get to my art business and the gallery business...
I didn't paint as much as I anticipated I would. I was busier navigating and co-captaining than I normally am. Being in unknown waters for us required that but it was all worth it.

Summer Breeze summer cruise 
Dates: May 21-July 3, 2018
Miles today:  24
Miles total: 1399
Our miles on Summer Breeze:  2552

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Southport, NC to almost Georgetown, SC, July 1, Day 42

 This photo of us was taken today by an anchor and dock mate we've had the last several days, both of us traveling south. We took their photo as well and exchanged. It's rare to get photos of us while under way! Thanks Wade and Don! 
Lockwood Folly inlet
We left the marina about 7:15 AM, as we are hoping to make 2 short days we had on the way north into 1 not too long of a day going south. Bucksport is on the Waccamaw River just south of Myrtle Beach. This means that we will go through the areas of Lockwood Folly and Shallotte that are well known for swift currents and shoaling, but we are going on a favorable tide which is great. 
The weekend and 4th of July revelers were out early staking out a spot on the sand bar by the inlets. 

Little River inlet area by Calabash was busy, busy with small boat traffic, making us crazy. At the risk of making me sound like an old person.... 
... the jet skiers and small boats pulling children and then stopping directly in front of us was insane. Don't they know that we are a big heavy boat that just can't get out of their way when they are in our only channel? (Ok, kids, I sound like your grandpa and grandmas!)
We also went through the legendary Rock Pile. It’s about a 3 mile stretch of the ICW with rock ledges jutting from the sides. It’s high tide today as we go south and it’s deceiving because you can’t see most of them. 
When we traveled north, it was low tide and the channel appeared narrower but you could see the rocks. Above you can see some of the rock ledges that are visible at high tide and you can see how close to the boats they are. We just stayed in the middle with the smaller local traffic going around us. We just hope no one larger than us is going north at the same time. Captain B radioed a Securite call for large traffic and no one answered as well as no AIS showed up on the computer. All is well. It’s actually a beautiful stretch with fine great homes. 
Along the way, there is still evidence of the broken docks from the storms the last couple of years and lots of new and repaired docks going in. We've met people that are taking their boats south now because they got caught up north too late and couldn't get home with the storms. 
After the Rock Pile area which is around North Myrtle Beach, the small boat traffic got even crazier, as you can see. We had to really watch them because they were not watching us.

Bella on duty watching Socaste Swing Bridge open.
We anchored at 6:30 behind Butler Island just in sight of the Ocean Highway Bridge north of Georgetown. This gives us a good start to get to Charleston tomorrow. We made it farther today than we anticipated with some good tide travel (kind of like time travel when you are on a boat) so we hope to make it to the Charleston harbor tomorrow and take the boat offshore to do so. Will check waves and weather one more time in the morning and have drug laced peanut butter and Relief Band ready. 
Unfortunately, as we showered and getting ready to cook up some fresh grouper, we discovered a water pump issue. Bruce is not sure if he can repair it here or not. We are so close to home! We were hoping to stop off at Botany Bay Beach for the 4th of July and then go home the next day but we can't live without boat water for that long. I have to shower. We have plenty of drinking water so all good there. 

Miles today: 87
Miles total. 1285

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